The men's 500-meter speedskating event is among the most exciting 30 or so seconds you'll ever see. Unlike the longer distances, the skaters have absolutely no margin for error, and a slow start could doom their chances of seeing the podium.
That leads to one inevitable conclusion that must run through the minds of all competitors.
Start fast and finish fast, or you're going to go home unhappy.
The men's 500-meter race, unlike the longer distances, takes place over the course of two heats. Each skater will race once on both the outer and inner lanes of the track; this is to correct for a small but statistically significant advantage given to the skater on the inner lane.
Times are added together to create an overall time, with the lowest times eventually reaching the podium.
It's fast, it's exciting and it's full of drama.
This is your complete preview of the men's 500-meter speedskating event.